Delco upgrades Widener's fire system

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

ASTON, Pa.--Delco Alarm has recently completed the bulk of a multi-year fire alarm installation on two of Widener University's three campuses.
Widener's main campus is in Chester, Pa., and it has smaller campuses in Wilmington, Del., and Harrisburg, Pa.
Before Delco began the project, Widener had "a lot of mismatched systems. Mike [Gaffney, Widener's life-safety and compliance officer] wanted to standardize on one system so he could keep parts in stock," said Joe Cliffe, service manager and project coordinator at Delco.
Cliffe joined Delco in 2002 after serving as fire marshal and fire commissioner for the city of Chester, Pa. Even before he left his fire marshal job and moved to Delco, however, he had conferred with Gaffney and advised him to take a look at Silent Knight systems.
Since 2002, Cliffe has been involved with the project. On the Chester campus, Delco has installed 26 IntelliKnight Model 5820XL panels that have up to 508 addressable points. Cliffe likes this line, he said, "because of the ease of programming, it makes the integration go a lot easier." The panel can report system activity to a remote monitoring location and can differentiate between smoke and dust particles. In addition, it can be programmed with a PC.
One of the biggest challenges with this project was "down on the Delaware campus where there were 12 townhouses, one three-story dorm and a small office," Cliffe said. The trick was to map out and program everything without disrupting people who didn't need to be disrupted, he said. The installation on that campus also involved swapping out old systems with new and merging a part of the new addressable panel with older conventional panels.
Delco Alarms is a 30-year-old family business owned by Don and Debbie Culp.
The company has 15 employees and does fire, card-access, CCTV, home theater and low-voltage work. The company started out as a security company and branched out into fire, which now makes up about 60 percent of the business. Delco's footprint extends from New Jersey to Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. It also has some multi-location customers that have branches in Boston and New York.